February 5, 2024
From The Real News Network
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Black people have produced their own historical accounts as long as Black people have been in America. From oral tradition to the first publications of Phyllis Wheatley, to the many Black publishing houses and newspapers that blossomed after emancipation, Black people have always been the foremost chroniclers and documenters of their own stories. Now, a new collection compiles some 400 historical documents across 178 years in an unprecedented single volume. Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr., founder of the Black Chronicle, and Carla Wilson join Rattling the Bars to discuss the new book.

Studio / Post-Production: Cameron Granadino


Transcript

Mansa Musa:  Welcome to this edition of Rattling The Bars, a show that amplifies the voices of people who are disenfranchised, marginalized, and subjugated, by offering solutions. I’m your host, Mansa Musa. Joining me today to talk about a remarkable publication entitled Black Chronicle: From the Slavery Era – 1778 to the Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement – 1956, is Mr. Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.

He is the owner and founder of the Black Chronicle. Mr. Maloyd Ben Wilson acquired the rights from the late Henry Hampton. Mr. Hampton compiled the articles from over two dozen African-American newspapers and books. Mr. Wilson further compiled the 14 volumes and made the Black Chronicle into its current format of a book. The Black Chronicle as a publication can establish a single source for communicating African-American historical information based on news accounts nationally and internationally worldwide. Also joining me is Ben’s wife, Carla Wilson. How is y’all doing today?

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  We’re doing great.

Carla Wilson:  Doing great.

Mansa Musa:  To give my audience some background information, I was in Las Vegas during the Christmas holidays, visiting some family members, and I ran across this magazine.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  It’s a book.

Mansa Musa:  Right, book. It’s called the Black Chronicle. I immediately started looking at it and that propelled me to start researching where it came from and how I can get my hands on copies. That led me to Mr. Maloyd and his wife Carla.

All right, so let’s talk about the Black Chronicle.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Right.

Mansa Musa:  Okay, Mr. Maloyd.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Yes, sir.

Mansa Musa:  How long have you been involved with this project? Educate our audience on how this came about.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  The Black Chronicle is a compilation of books and articles. It stemmed out of the great, late Henry Hampton, who had these articles. I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I was walking up to see my mother and a friend of mine’s son had a copy of a newspaper. It was called 1857 Edition. To make a long story short, he showed it to me, and I told him to take it home because it might be worth something. It may be worth a lot of money. So he took it home, and for a year, I hadn’t heard from him. One day I was thinking about that 1857 Edition of the Black Chronicle, and I said, let me call his mother and see if he still has that book. I’d like to have it.

Mansa Musa:  Right.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  So, I called his mother, and I said, dude, your son had that Black Chronicle. And she said it’s around here somewhere. So, I said, tell him I’ll give him $100. And, he got on the phone and said, I got it. You can get it. So, I went up to his house. Within minutes, I had this Black Chronicle in my hand. I put it in my bag for over a year, and I went back to get it, and I looked on the bottom to see who owned it, and it said Henry Hampton, Blackside. I called him to ask him about it. He said, do you know there are 14 other issues? I said, well, what are you going to do? And he said nothing. He said I’m going to throw it away. I said, I want it.

Mansa Musa:  Let me ask you this here. So, you started with one copy of the Black Chronicle and accumulated into, what, how many different –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  13 other issues.

Mansa Musa:  – 14 other issues?

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  A total of 14 issues.

Mansa Musa:  A total of 14 issues.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  From 1778 to 1956.

Mansa Musa:  From 1778 to 1956. And, that’s information that was recorded –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Everything you can imagine.

Mansa Musa:  – About different events dealing with –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Let me tell you… The whole… Oh, yeah.

Mansa Musa:  – Okay. Well, let’s start with, how did you wind up getting it to where it’s at now? Because you put it in this form that it’s in now, right?

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  It was just articles.

Carla Wilson:  Just loose leaves of the newspaper. It was loose-leaf.

Mansa Musa:  Right.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  The one thing that it had in it was articles. Each four-page was a new article, a new four-pager that had all the information. Each one was a different book.

Mansa Musa:  Edition. Right.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Edition is the word.

Mansa Musa:  Right. That’s what I’ve seen. I’ve seen that. Let me ask you this here.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Yes.

Mansa Musa:  Okay. I want to pick up on that, because when I was looking at it, I noticed that the way you got it set up is you got each edition, and then the editions deal with a series of events, like the Washington Post. The Washington Post had a section that talked about national events on today’s Washington Post. Then, they might have a section in there about what’s going on locally in today’s Washington Post, and so on and so forth. That’s the same way you set this up, in each chronicle, you’re outlining events that took place in 1776. Then, you’re saying –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  What is so debilitating is that I got excited, so excited, and he didn’t give them to me right away. He asked me what was I going to do with it. To show you how God works, in my mind, in my thoughts, I came out… When he asked me, what are you going to do with it for me to give you this? He said I’m going to throw this stuff away because we don’t need it. And I said to him, I need it. I need it to give to the world. He said, well what are you going to do with it? I said I wanted to make a book out of it. He said wow, I never thought about that. He said, well, what I’m going to do, I’m going to send you all the material you need. It took me five years to convince him. My wife can tell you, every day, for almost five years, it’s about four years into, and some change, that I called this man –

Carla Wilson:  Every single day.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – Every single day.

Carla Wilson:  Every single day that we had a new phone company because the bills were rising and Ben was determined to stay in touch with Mr. Henry Hampton, that, honestly, the bills were like up to $3,000. We’d get another phone company.

Mansa Musa:  – Where was he located? Where was Mr. Hampton located?

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  He was in Boston.

Carla Wilson:  Boston. Boston.

Mansa Musa:  And, y’all made long-distance calls?

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Long distance.

Carla Wilson:  Yeah. That’s one man who is persistent. That’s persistence.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  That’s when long distance cost you a fortune.

Mansa Musa:  Yeah, yeah. No, no. That also gives our audience an understanding of how much time and energy went into –

Carla Wilson:  Yes. Because, the phone company, one phone company shut us off because the bill was $3,000. Well, he’d go find another one and get hooked up to stay in touch with Mr. Hampton.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Listen, he would take my calls and he would say to me, what are you going to do? I’d say, I’m going to make a book out of this and send it out to the world. Put it on the newsstand.

Mansa Musa:  – All right, let’s go right there then. Let’s talk about that. We know, and I know from experience, that you definitely are persistent when you’ve got your mind set on something.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  That’s right.

Mansa Musa:  The few accounts I had with you. But, let’s talk about when you got to the point where you had all the information –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Let me tell you what we did –

Mansa Musa:  – Then you wanted to publish it. How did you go about doing that?

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – At the end of the fourth year and some change, I stopped calling him. I didn’t call him anymore. My wife said –

Carla Wilson:  The phone bills were too high.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – She said, he’s not going to give you anything. Forget about that man. So I stopped for a year. Then, one day, I was the sports editor for the Pittsburgh Courier, and I was going to work, and early in the morning, man, Black Chronicle jumped into my thoughts and for that whole day I couldn’t do anything but think about Black Chronicle. So that evening, when I came home, I couldn’t rest. I called him, I said, I got to call this man, so I called him, and he answered. The phone didn’t even ring. He said, who is this? I said this is Ben Wilson, Black Chronicle. Is this you? Have you had me? He said, yes.

He said, oh, my goodness, this is Ben Wilson Pittsburgh. He said I’ve been looking for you. I’m getting ready to retire, and I’m going to throw this away. I’m going to either give it to the library or I’m going to throw this away. What do you want? I said, I need it. I want it. It’s in my blood. Please let me have this. And he said I’m going to send it to you.

So, he sent it, but I was at home getting ready to go to work and they told me, get in here. That man, your buddy, sent you a big box. You need to come and see this. So, I zoomed in there. Man, I was in there so quick, and I opened it up, and when they saw it, all the employees there were saying, can we have it? I said, no. And, my partner, who I always talked to, and discussed things that happened, said to me, let me have it. I said, oh, no. I’m taking it. He said, well, leave it here in the office. The big box had record albums, it had CDs… It didn’t have CDs. It had the biography in the back. I took the whole box home, I took it to my printer, and I laid it out in a book form.

Carla Wilson:  And, that’s how this started.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  That’s exactly how it started. In two or three days, my printer called me and he said it was done. That was back in ’99. He said it’s done.

Mansa Musa:  Okay. So 1999 is when you came out with your first book?

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Let me tell you, they called me at the printer. I went to his office, and he gave me a copy of this, and I picked it up and kissed it and cried –

Mansa Musa:  You know what? I’m going to stop you –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – I cried, man. I cried.

Mansa Musa:  – Wait a minute, wait a minute. Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. This is important for our audience to recognize. Why would somebody cry? I want to get your wife in here to talk about some of the contents. I told you, when I was in Vegas, I saw it on the corner and when I got it, I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t believe that we had got written material to date activities and events that went on in our lives from 1776 up to now. So, Mrs. Wilson, talk about the contents, if you can.

Carla Wilson:  Well, the content, as you can see, starts with an index, here at the beginning of the book, that states all the 14 newspapers here. So, everything is compiled into this. When you hear 14 issues, some people think, oh, it’s 14 different books or 14 newspapers, but what he took with these editions, he compiled it into what looks like the newspaper format. The pages kept the same originality, and will never change. Some people say it’s an awkward size but it takes away from the authenticity of the newspapers.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Let me cut in for a minute. When I put this together, the one thing I wanted, that I’m proud of, is I compiled a publisher’s note, and it sums up what’s in here. It talks about slavery to the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Then we go on to the first issue. Flip the page. What date does that say?

Carla Wilson:  That date on there is 1778, February 26.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  That’s when it starts. 1778. The last story in the book, I felt like this is the one that would captivate everybody in the world. Emmett Till. As a matter of fact, when I was on the radio in Pittsburgh here, she was on the radio, and I happened to talk to her.

Mansa Musa:  Who? The mother?

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  The mother.

Carla Wilson:  The mother.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  His mother.

Mansa Musa:  The mother?

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Yes, indeed. I was on the radio. I’ve been on the radio tons of times.

Carla Wilson:  That’s the story that a lot of people don’t know about.

Mansa Musa:  Right. I’m going to tell you a story. I didn’t know until I read it in here. When I read about Marcus Garvey and when he was going to get the ships because his investment in getting the ships was he was buying bad ships, that ultimately led to him purchasing stuff and financially getting caught up. That called for the Internal Revenue to come and get involved. Up until that point, I didn’t know the details. But the Black Chronicle gives you detailed information on it.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Tell you what I didn’t know: I didn’t know Matthew Henson was the first person, not just Black person, but the first person –

Carla Wilson:  To touch foot –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – To touch foot on the tip of the North Pole.

Carla Wilson:  – I didn’t either. We were taught, where I come from, it was William Perry. They credited William Perry.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  William Perry –

Mansa Musa:  I know. Let’s talk, right where we at right now, because now we going into… I want y’all to talk about why this work is important, and how and why people should support y’all –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – Let me tell you what I did [crosstalk] –

Mansa Musa:  – Why they should support y’all, why they should support this.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – Let’s explain why I felt like God had given me something that nobody else had. The reason why I’m saying that is because we got all kinds of people in here who did things that nobody else could do. Nobody could walk on the face of the North Pole. Emmett Till couldn’t have gone through… I couldn’t imagine what he went through. So, what I’m saying to you is, when you read this stuff, the reason why this book is so important is because we, as Black people, have a history of things that we did that made this world what it is today. We’re the link to all the stories that happened. And so, if we don’t tell our kids, our kids’ kids, their kids’ kids, and white folks – We need to tell them. We need to tell white folks this is what you did.

Carla Wilson:  And, this was real personal for me.

Mansa Musa:  Why? Why was that? Why was that?

Carla Wilson:  Well, my ancestry lineage fell. The truth wasn’t told. When I went to school, there was no Black history. I cried when I read a couple of these stories, because –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Absolutely.

Carla Wilson:  – Because we weren’t told the truth. I didn’t know. I figured my ancestors didn’t know, because, somewhere back in slavery, and being in the white house and passing for white, they didn’t have this information, and they didn’t know. They didn’t know like I didn’t know. My parents didn’t know. They didn’t tell me about Matthew Henson. So, for me, I nearly cried when I found out it’s about the truth.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Let me tell you something, let me give you something.

Mansa Musa:  Come on, tell me. Come on. Tell me something.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Yes, I’ve got to tell you this. I’m so glad that you got me to tell the story to the people who don’t know. Let me tell you this: I sold over a hundred thousand of these books myself. I’m not talking about Amazon, even though I was on Amazon.

Carla Wilson:  Not the website, not Amazon, he went on foot.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  I went out. I went –

Mansa Musa:  Hand to hand. Hand to hand.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – Hand to hand. I was in Atlanta. I was in –

Carla Wilson:  We’d set up with affairs. Local.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – Washington. When the Muslims came and invited me, I took 5,000 of these books and sold them. They sold. People were in line. I’ve had people who had other products when we go there, they say, can we sell this? And I’d say, absolutely. All you have to do is buy it wholesale and you got it.

Mansa Musa:  Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about that part because y’all created a teacher’s guide. Y’all got the booklet, y’all got the book –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  It’s right here. Right here.

Mansa Musa:  – And then y’all got a teacher’s guide. What’s the purpose of the teacher’s guide? Explain. Talk to me about the teacher’s guide.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  The teacher’s guide is a supplement that goes with the book.

Mansa Musa:  What does it do?

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  It teaches us how to teach these stories.

Mansa Musa:  Okay, okay.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Because when you get here, you got to know what to say and what to do. You got to have this book. I put it over the years and I got sick. This is good for me. I ended up – And my wife don’t lie, I don’t tell it that much – I got cancer. I had it of the prostate. I had good doctors and I overcame that but I had to stop the Black Chronicle until I got well. But, I sold over a hundred thousand so far.

Mansa Musa:  Okay, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about this as we close out. As we close out, tell our audience how they can get it, what the call says, and how they can get in touch with y’all.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  We’re on Amazon now. I put that on Amazon.

Carla Wilson:  The book is $25 on Amazon. Also, we’re on a website, blackchroniclebook.com. And, the teacher’s guide is available, too, for $50. The book’s $25 on both sites but the teacher’s guide is $50.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  And the reason why –

Carla Wilson:  This price, let me tell you, is well under –

Mansa Musa:  Oh, no, no, no. This is not… Listen, this is a good –

Carla Wilson:  – That is the price –

Mansa Musa:  – This is a good price.

Carla Wilson:  – So that everybody –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – Well, let me tell you why. Let me tell you why. I have one of my employees who worked for me, named Bossy Hill, who sold it to all the libraries he could. And he’s said he’s in over 50 libraries, and that’s why you can see it. Now, what I also did, is when people call on the phone and say, Mr. Wilson, how can I get a copy? I tell them, do you want a copy, or do you want to tell your friends? You can buy a box. There’s 70 in a box. That’s the way the printer printed it and packed it.

Carla Wilson:  – They’re available for fundraisers.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Fundraisers for church groups. I sold all over the country. Now, my wife can tell you, she can tell you how to… So, they go through Amazon or –

Carla Wilson:  Yeah, and the website.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – The website, what? Give them the –

Mansa Musa: We’ll post that information at the end of the broadcast. But, as we close out, Mr. Ben, what do you want to tell our audience about –

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – Here’s what I want to tell –

Mansa Musa:  – This product and why it’s important for them to get this product.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – My next printing. I don’t know how many times I’ve printed. I’ve printed a lot. My next printing will be a million copies. Already got it locked out. I’m talking to somebody who wants to put up the money, who I think, at this point, will put up the money, and they can make whatever money they want. I’ll give you a chance to make it. The book is $25, but if you buy it by the box, you get it for $10 a book. The teacher’s guide goes with that. It’s $25 wholesale and it’s $10 for the CD.

Mansa Musa:  This information will come out during Black History Month. So, I want you to tell our audience why it’s important that they get this information during this period of time. This is Black History Month. When we add this, it’ll be at the beginning of Black History Month.

Carla Wilson:  With this country and the world looking like they’re losing democracy, personally, I did everything I could to reserve my history in my ancestry. And, this is a valuable piece for our youth which you know a lot of us don’t know. This was a catalyst that motivated me to start looking and searching for history. Because, like I said, the way our democracy is, we’re going to be lost. So if we collectively don’t start to know our minds and gain the information to know that some of these ancestors are our ancestors… I’m currently looking at mine and I have a connection to Benjamin Banneker, and I just found this out.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  You need to do as you go to the library. But, I have it where, if you call me, my number’s in the book, if you call me, I can see that you get a box. And, you can make tons of money, but more than anything, you can read the stories.

Carla Wilson:  Share it. Share your story.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  Share with your family. Your family needs this because they don’t know the things that Black folks… We did some things that white folks could never even imagine. We went through things that… The slavery, the things that happened to Black people, it was… Even me, I was in the service for five years, and they didn’t serve me. And, I remember that. I remember Rosa Parks. You remember Rosa Parks.

Mansa Musa:  Yep, yep, yep, yep. Yep.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  These are Black people that we need to align ourselves with. And, I’m glad that you –

Carla Wilson:  Brought us on.

Maloyd Ben Wilson Jr.:  – Brought us on and that you are doing the things that you need to do. And you’re a great man. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Mansa Musa:  There you have it. The Real News. Thank you, Mr. And Mrs. Wilson, for joining me as we rattle the bars. We will send you a copy of the Black Chronicle for a $10 a month donation or a one-time $100 donation. We ask that you continue to support The Real News and Rattling the Bars because guess what? We are really the news.

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